Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Should St. Louis increase the use tax to help fund a soccer stadium? Two St. Louis aldermen debated the question on the Charlie Brennan Show Monday morning.

The north side’s Antonio French says with taxes already high, the city is running out of room on how much it can tax its citizens.

“If we raise taxes in the city, I think that money needs to go to towards the biggest issue in the city, which is fighting violent crime, fully staffing the police department and changing the nature of the neighborhoods that have violent crime,” he says.

Jack Coatar, whose ward includes the proposed stadium’s site, says it’s not an either/or proposition.

“I don’t think having a half-percent increase in the use tax to fund this soccer stadium limits our ability to find other ways to find money for the police and fight crime,” he says.

Coatar agrees that crime is the city’s top priority, and agrees with French that St. Louis County should help fund such attractions, but says, “I don’t think we should stop developing and stop trying to provide these amenities and sports franchises that people are interested in.”

A judge is expected to approve placing the issue on the April ballot. So will it pass?

“I think there are some very vocal people outside of St. Louis city, on social media and elsewhere, who say they want it, but in St. Louis city, it is very unpopular from what I’ve found,” French says.

But Coatar has a different take.

“I represent downtown, Soulard, Lafayette Square, McKinley Heights, the neighborhoods just south of downtown. They, frankly, want to have a chance to vote on this and most of them have expressed that they’re going to vote favorably for it.”

(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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